You’ve probably already heard that nuts are good for you. They have heart-healthy antioxidants and are a great source of “healthy” fats. But did you know that nuts can also make you feel happy?
Scientists have discovered a link between eating nuts and serotonin levels in the body. Just so we’re on the same page, serotonin is a chemical your brain releases that can suppress appetite, improve heart health, and make you feel calmer and happier.
And the good news?
It only took one ounce of mixed nuts to produce the “happy” effects.
The results of the study appeared in the Journal of Proteome Research. To see the effect of nut consumption on serotonin levels, scientists put 22 patients with metabolic syndrome (symptoms include excess belly fat, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar) on a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks. This group was compared to another group of patients with metabolic syndrome who were implicitly told to AVOID eating nuts. The scientists then analyzed urine samples for compounds that were excreted and found evidence of several healthy changes in the body. The most surprising was that the group eating mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) had serotonin metabolites in their urine, which indicates higher serotonin levels in the body.
This is great news and gives you even more good reason to include nuts in your diet.
Keep in mind nuts are still VERY calorically dense, so a little goes a long way. An ounce of nuts, about a handful, is a good healthy snack – that has the potential to make you happier too! Best to stick with the kinds of nuts used in the study if you’re looking for the mood-enhancing effects (raw walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.)
So go NUTS! 🙂
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